Contraband Days is one of Louisiana's largest festivals and the City of Lake Charles oldest festival and Contraband Days is a themed "pirate" festival with close to 100 events. Contraband Days always falls on the first two weekends in May and it's a twelve day festival. The Festival is based on the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds with some events occurring throughout the City. Over 100,000 people attend Contraband Days Festival on land and on the water.
HISTORIC LEGEND of CONTRABAND DAYS
Almost three centuries ago, a notorious and ruthless pirate named "Jean Lafitte" and his band of buccaneers were fleeing enemy ships and heading west to Galveston. LEGEND has it that Lafitte & his band of buccaneers would hide out along the waterways in Lake Charles. LEGEND has it that Jean Lafitte's favorite hideout was CONTRABAND Bayou in Lake Charles. LEGEND has it that the treasure (silver & gold) was hidden and buried by Lafitte in his favorite hideaway Contraband Bayou and hence given why the bayou is named CONTRABAND.
HOW CONTRABAND DAYS BEGAN In 1957 a group of local businessmen from the Downtown Division of the Lake Charles Association of Commerce (later known as the Chamber of Commerce) formed Lake Charles Contraband Days Inc (later known as Contraband Days Inc) for the sole purpose of developing a program to utilize the Lake Charles areas in recreational and cultural activities and to attract tourists. The group opted for a pirate theme with the LEGEND of Lafitte's Buried Treasure along Contraband Bayou thus the first Annual Contraband Days was held in June 1958 as a one day event with a boat parade, water ski show and boat races. A few years later this group of men formed another organization called the Buccaneers of Lake Charles, Inc and added entertainment by dressing in pirate attire and costume. A "Jean Lafitte" would be selected to lead the buccaneers to "Capture the Mayor and take over the City". Part of the buccaneer group would also dress in "City Militia" at